The ultimate ‘how to’ guide for first time owners

There is so much to consider when you first buy a new home. For those who are budget conscious, the decision to buy a ‘fixer-upper’ is becoming increasingly popular. Not only that, but thousands of households are deciding to ditch the costs of hiring a handyman and fixing simple issues themselves. Here, we have put together a helpful list of some of the common issues first time buyers encounter, and how to fix them!

How to fix the loo

Much easier than you’d think — the insides of a cistern are quite simple. A common cause of failure to flush properly is that the lever arm is worn out. This is the white plastic bit attached to the handle on the inside. It pulls a wire, which tends to rust and snap, but can be replaced with a bit of wire coat hanger.

How to put up a shelf

The benchmark of the amateur handyman. Say you want a shelf in an alcove. Do not to assume the alcove is the same width all the way up. Decide where you want the shelves, then measure with a steel rule and a spirit level. The White method uses three wooden battens, one either side and one at the back. Attach one side batten to the wall, remembering that the top of the batten will be the bottom of the shelf. Cut the shelf to fit (see 1), then rest it on the fixed batten and use the spirit level on the shelf to position the second side batten. Mark and fix.

How to bleed a radiator

If there’s air in your radiator, it won’t get very hot. To drain it, you’ll need a bleed key (available from hardware stores). First, turn off your central heating. Find the radiator’s bleed valve (at the top) and turn slowly until you hear the hiss of air. Stop when water begins to flow. Tip: bleeding works if the radiator is cold at the top and warm at the bottom. If your radiator is cold at the bottom, it’s bunged up with sludge and you need a plumber.

How to use a sealant gun

To fill ugly gaps in a skirting board, or at the end of shelves (see 7), use decorator’s caulk (not silicone: it can’t be painted). This comes in a cartridge and fits into a sealant gun. Hold the gun over the gap and sweep confidently along, squeezing the trigger gently. For a neat finish, smooth with a wet finger. If you still have gaps, let the caulk dry before filling them or it will shrink and ruin any paintwork.

Have you recently bought a new home and attempted to fix simple household issues yourself? We want to hear from you! What were the most common problems and which issues were the hardest to fix? Did you have to call a professional at any point? Get in touch with us via our contact page!